This summer, more than 250+ CEOs came together to announce an incredible initiative. The participating leaders — many of whom oversee large Fortune 500 companies, firms and nonprofits — publicly declared that they’re going to collaborate to advance diversity and inclusion in their workplaces.
We were not at all surprised to learn that the pledge, which is called “The CEO Action for Diversity & InclusionTM” is the largest CEO-led commitment of its kind, was co-led by PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) U.S. Chairman Tim Ryan. The PwC U.S. member network firm, which has ranked as the #1 workplace for parents and continues to rank as one of the best companies to work for, has a history of publicly committing to diversity and inclusion initiatives and has continued to make some big moves to help advance these initiatives.
For example, PwC is one of 10 IMPACT Champions for the United Nations’ HeForShe campaign, and the firm consistently strives to bring more transparency to global gender diversity initiatives, publicly releasing its gender diversity workforce figures in UN Women's Inaugural HeForShe Parity Record. PwC has also hosted a Women’s Leadership webcast series called Aspire to Lead and has developed an online course with HeForShe focused on global gender equality called Building Gender IQ.
Ryan, eager to take his U.S. firm’s efforts a step further, is addressing themes like race and diversity within PwC’s walls head-on, and encouraged discussions across the firm last summer after the U.S. was facing the aftermath of several tragic police-involved shootings.
“I got the team together and asked what they thought we should say or do about what was happening,” Ryan told Fortune last February, when the idea for the pledge was in its early stages. “I knew it had to be something. Wouldn’t it be great if all the CEOs of the Fortune 500, who employ millions of people in the United States, came together and acknowledged that, notwithstanding everything we’ve tried, we can do even more about race?”
He added that those conversations are having a profound impact on how PwC approaches leadership and works to empower employees and those outside the firm. Indeed, that impact is visible: many of the company’s clients are also a part of this commitment — and leadership encourages staff to make the CEO Action commitment a part of their next client conversation.
The participants are pledging three things: first, to make the workplace one where employees feel comfortable having complex, and sometimes difficult conversations about diversity and inclusion; second, to implement and expand unconscious bias education and training to help employees recognize and minimize any potential “blind spots”; and third, to openly “share best practices — and unsuccessful — practices” so that other companies can “evolve and enhance their current diversity strategies.”
Among the other businesses who have joined in the pledge are steering committee CEOs and leaders that are driving efforts with Ryan from Accenture, Deloitte, Boston Consulting Group, Procter & Gamble,The Executive Leadership Council, EY, General Atlantic, KPMG, and New York Life.
P&G Chairman of the Board, President and CEO David Taylor stated, “We have a proud and growing tradition of advocating for dialogue and action that drives progress – and issues of diversity and inclusion are no different. By working side-by-side with others to address these challenges head on, we believe we can create better workplaces and stronger communities where all people are welcome, valued, and respected.”
Beyond encouraging other companies and CEOs to engage, PwC has developed its own educational resources to help people recognize, understand and manage any potential blind spots, or unconscious biases — and these training materials, which include videos, quizzes, and discussion guides — are in the public domain for individuals to access.
How amazing would it be to have the chance to work for a leading business that’s so focused on and motivated by all the right things? If PwC sounds like the kind of employer you can get behind, be sure to check out their job openings — they’re hiring!
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